A protest against Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Gov. Jan Brewer organized by transplanted attorney-activist Randy Parraz yielded exactly one protestor today as the state legislature met in Phoenix to begin its 2012 regular session.
"Join Citizens for a Better Arizona as we send a message to our Governor and legislators that the Russell Pearce brand of divisive and extremist politics is over," Parraz posted on his Facebook page, calling for protestors to join him at the state capitol Monday morning. Pearce was the state Senate president and Arpaio ally on immigration recalled last year in a campaign led by Parraz.
Observers on the scene reported Parraz's group had a permit to assemble, and some 50 Arizona State Police were there.
The lone Parraz supporter, however, was outnumbered by some 50 counter-protesters carrying signs in favor of Arpaio and Brewer, including several who identified themselves as tea party members and a Hispanic supporter of legal immigration.
Arpaio, under fire for a Justice Department report claiming his office discriminates against Hispanics, plans to release results next month of his Cold Case Posse's investigation of Barack Obama's eligibility for Arizona's 2012 ballot.
Arthur Olibas, who identified himself as a "Latino legal immigrant tea party patriot," told WND he supported Arpaio because, "He's the only one who has the courage to enforce the laws of Arizona and the Constitution of the United States."
WND previously reported that Parraz is a leftist political activist now living in Arizona who has made his career applying Saul Alinsky "community organizer" skills. Parraz has worked with radical leftist "progressive" movements in the United States and Canada, including staff jobs with the AFL-CIO nationally and as Arizona state director.
After ousting Pearce – who championed the passage of Arizona's tough immigration bill, SB 1070 –Parraz has set his sites on Arpaio and Brewer, who both favor strict enforcement of Arizona and U.S. immigration laws.
Parraz is operating under the auspices of Citizens for a Better Arizona, a 501(c)4 organization that appears to be violating IRS rules by engaging in partisan political campaigns.
Parraz and his Citizens for a Better Arizona have announced their intention to pressure the upcoming Jan. 11 meeting of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to place the group's complaints against Arpaio on the agenda. Parraz wants to advance a motion requiring the board to ask for Arpaio's resignation.
WND has also reported Parraz and a group of ACORN activists were arrested in 2008 for disrupting a meeting of the Maricopa supervisors.
Professional political agitator
Parraz has a protest record stretching back to his days in the 1990s as a graduate student at Harvard and a law student at the University of California at Berkeley.
The first published report WND can find documenting his political activism was a protest of about 150 students and faculties and administrators he organized as a graduate student at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, reported by the Harvard Crimson on March 9, 1994.
According to the Crimson, the rally was attended by a coalition of Kennedy School student groups, including the Black Caucus, the Latino Caucus, the Women's Caucus and the Asian Caucus, demanding the Kennedy School meet the Department of Labor's recommended diversity levels by hiring more women and minority faculty.
Parraz next surfaced as the president of a Latino Civil Rights Task Force, a group the Washington Post reported on Jan. 23, 1997, was created to field complaints from Latinos and promote Latino concerns to city officials in response to unrest in May 1991 by Central Americans in Mount Pleasant, a neighborhood in the District of Columbia.
The Washington Post article described Parraz as "a self-confident, articulate Mexican American labor union organizer from California."
WND has reported Parraz, working as an AFL-CIO organizer, brought Canadian protestors through Vancouver, Canada, to participate in the 1999 protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle in which an estimated 40,000 protesters engaged in street violence, which in protest lore was subsequently tagged as the "Battle of Seattle."
The Orange County Register also reported on Dec. 8, 2001, that Parraz was arrested after protesters he organized to encourage national hotel chains to employ more Hispanics locally gathered in the middle of an intersection, disrupted traffic and refused to disperse as ordered by police.
Leftist blogger Bob Lord termed Parraz "a True Progressive Hero" in a DailyKos.com piece on Nov. 9, 2011, thanking Parraz for having "essentially dedicated his life to the cause [of recalling Pearce] for the better part of a year." Parraz supported Lord's candidacy as a Democrat for U.S. Congress in Arizona's third congressional district.